The final race of the European calendar, Formula 1 usually arrives at Monza in early September, making rain infrequent, but it can still hit and cause havoc with the race weekend.
In 2008 a wet weekend in Italy introduced Sebastian Vettel to the world as he took the Toro Rosso to the first and only pole position and win, showing that anything can happen when it gets wet in Monza.
In F1 2019 things are a little different. The pace gap between the top teams and Toro Rosso is enormous, making dreams of a repeat performance from 2008 all-but impossible. However, a specialised setup for the rain here can create a huge jump in overall pace. How should you setup your car for a wet Italian Grand Prix?
This seems like an extreme setting, but it makes sense. The 1-11 wings provides as much speed as possible down the straights and supreme stability when you put your foot down out of corners and through the long final corner of Parabolica.
With a lack of mid-speed corners you don't need too much front wing as long as you don't get too risky on the brakes. All the pace here comes from stable and consistent corner exit and acceleration onto the straights.
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While traction and acceleration is crucial, confidence and consistency on the throttle is more so. As a result we have gone with a 50% on-throttle differential. This allows the rear tyres to rotate more independently, and as such lessens the risk of the rear end snapping on you when you put your foot down.
The 70% off-throttle differential makes the rears rotate a little more in-line with each other when you aren't on the power. This again helps keep the rear predictable on corner exit.
The suspension geometry part of the setting establishes how the wheels are aligned to the body of the car. Here we can extract some performance from the tyres as Monza is relatively kind to the rubber.
Our camber settings are -2.60 & -1.10 to help us carry some more speed through the Lesmos and Parabolica. Front toe is set to 0.08 to give the front end a little more bite on turn-in, while the rear toe of 0.41 is again adding to the rear stability when we get on the power.
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The suspension section of the setup is perhaps the most important. Our 1-1 suspension not only helps the weight shift rearward on acceleration but it also makes the harsh kerbs of the chicanes more forgiving when you inevitably outbrake yourself and have to take an escape over them.
The anti-roll bars are set to 1-5 which stops the tyres getting too stressed in the long final corner while again keeping the back end in when you corner.
The ride height of 4-6 keeps the car relatively slippery in a straight line to help keep top speed competitive while also creating a rake that generates some extra force at turn-in.
Braking is vital around Monza, but in the wet you need to have the ability to squeeze the brakes a little between corners. This means we are going with an 80% brake pressure, which keeps you competitive into the big stopping zones but also lets you scrub some speed quickly without totally ruining your momentum.
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Our brake bias is set to 54% which keeps the front end responsive when you brake. You can push this forward during the race to add a little stopping power if you need it.
Tyre pressure directly relates to tyre wear and traction. We have taken all the air out of the Pirelli rubber to help protect them from overheating but also to increase surface area and contact patch, which aids traction.
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That is our setup for a wet race at the Italian Grand Prix. Monza in the wet is all about nerve and trying to preserve your speed without dipping a wheel into the gravel. Our setup can feel a little loose on corner entry but you are rewarded by a very efficient exit which helps propel you into the next braking, and overtaking, zone.